Additional Book Information
Series: NYRB Classics
Publication Date: October 27, 2020
by Susan Taubes, introduction by David Rieff
November 2020 selection of the NYRB Classics Book Club.
Dream and reality overlap in Divorcing, a book in which divorcing is not just a matter of marital collapse but names a rift that runs right through the inner and outer worlds of Sophie Blind, its brilliant but desperate protagonist. Can the rift be mended? Perhaps in the form of a novel, one that goes back from present-day New York to Sophie’s childhood in pre–World War II Budapest, that revisits the divorce between her Freudian father and her fickle mother, and finds a place for a host of further tensions and contradictions of her life now. The question that haunts Divorcing, however, is whether any novel can be fleet and bitter and true and light enough to gather up all the darkness of a given life.
Susan Taubes’s startlingly original novel was published in 1969 but largely ignored; after the author’s tragic early death, it was forgotten. Its republication presents a chance to rediscover a dazzlingly intense and inventive writer whose work in many ways anticipates the fragmentary, glancing, lyrical novels that Renata Adler and Elizabeth Hardwick would write in the 1970s.
Hungarian American writer Taubes first published this brilliant fever dream of the life, loves, and travels of Sophie Blind shortly before her death in 1969. . . . The result parses how a thinking woman might have gone about divorcing herself from a society that defined her in ways over which she had no control. Taubes’s stylistically innovative book is essential reading for fans of Renata Adler.
[T]his formally bold novel will gratify admirers of Taubes' friend and contemporary Susan Sontag, Elizabeth's Hardwick's Sleepless Nights, and Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye. . . . A wry and cerebral study of identity, marriage, sex, and the interleafing of personal, familial, and national history.